Novo Pizzeria

Over the weekend, we finally had the opportunity to dine at Novo Pizzeria in Kitsilano.

Owners Carmine Paradiso and Roger Visona dreamed of serving up authentic Neapolitan pizza in a wood-burning oven to hungry Vancouverites. They even travelled to Los Angeles in order to train at the VPN (Vera Pizza Napoletana), an institution dedicated to preserving the art of this fine Italian staple. The training later went into developing Novo’s extensive pizza menu.

Novo’s dough consists of salt, water, yeast and flour, aged for two days in order to develop its distinct flavour. No two pizzas that come out of their oven are alike. As the evening wears on, the oven’s temperature increases, also a factor in determining the character and taste of the pizza that will arrive at your table.

This isn’t to say that you’ll receive an undercooked pizza at 5 pm, but rather that pizzas are so unique that even a fraction of change in temperature can affect one pizza to the next.

Novo Pizzeria

The alder wood burning stove hovers at a temperature of about 800 degrees F, which is what a proper 90 second Neapolitan pizza requires.

Kettle Valley's Pinot Noir/Merlot blend

I started my meal with a glass of Kettle Valley’s Pinot Noir/Merlot blend from the Okanagan Valley. I admired its rich colour and sampled it along with a plate of Sicilian meatballs: large, bursting-with-flavour mouthfuls. You’re in for a treat as these meatballs contain currants, pine nuts, and reggiano cheese shavings, all enhanced with a rich marinara sauce.

Sicilian meatballs: currants, pine nuts, reggiano, marinara sauce

Perusing the menu, aware that my dining mates would order a cheeseless pizza, my mind wandered to the other side of the menu, where a ciabatta burger caught my eye. A burger caught in the middle of a pizza and pasta menu made me all the more curious.

House salad with Ciabatta burger

The burger arrived with a house salad and was topped with prosciutto, smoked mozzarella, its homemade bun spread on either side with a thin layer of smoked tomatoes. Completely unexpected, and gorgeous! It was sad to hear then that this burger won’t be staying on the menu for too much longer, as Carmine and Roger have plans for revamping the menu in the near future.

Ciabatta burger, prosciutto, smoked mozarella

If a succulent, delightful burger is what you’re longing for, I’d suggest getting there soon.

Back in the pizza department, the Capriciossa pizza ($17) arrived, with an extra topping of Prosciutto di San Danielle ($4). I did sample a few bites, specifically to find out whether the Neapolitan thin crust pizza lived up to its reputation here. Well, yes it did.

Capriciossa pizza with Prosciutto, artichoke hearts, olives and ham
[Capriciossa pizza with Prosciutto, artichoke hearts, olives and ham]

The toppings were a good balance (though admittedly I did miss the cheese, and this pizza could have been made happier with the addition of perhaps some smoked mozzarella). Still, the slightly charred crust and plentiful toppings went down nicely with my glass of red.

Capriciossa pizza with Prosciutto, artichoke hearts, olives and ham

In addition to the pizza and pasta (and my incredible burger), Novo’s menu includes antipasti, salads, panini, home made pastas and desserts.

Nutella dessert pizza with fresh cream

We were able to sample a delicious Nutella pizza calzone for dessert, large enough to feed two to three people. The fresh cream and shaved chocolate curls served in a bowl on the side added to the decadence that topped off our evening. This dessert is not officially on the menu but can be made simply by asking for it.

Novo Pizzeria

I love what’s been done to this place. Incendio was a popular spot to catch dinner before or after a movie at Fifth Avenue Cinemas next door.

Novo Pizzeria interior

This iteration of Italian dining has raised the bar at least a couple of levels. Added to the dining room is a bar, side room with rack of wines and stone wall (with a curious pattern of bottles sticking out of it). Novo has an open plan concept, allowing light to stream in and its atmosphere to remain welcoming.

Novo Pizzeria

The Enomatic is starting to make more appearances in our city. This Italian state of the art wine preservation system will keep wine fresh for 20-60 days. Novo has one at its cozy wine bar towards the front of the restaurant.

Novo Pizzeria

Over 20 wines can be poured by the glass. I noticed both Italian and local BC wines on the menu.

Novo is located at 2118 Burrard Street and is open for Monday to Friday for lunch (11:30 to 3 pm) and dinner (Sunday to Thursday, 5 to 10 pm; Friday and Saturday 5 to 11 pm).

We were guests of Novo Pizzeria for the purpose of experiencing their menu and atmosphere.


  • Comment by Mike — November 7, 2011 @ 2:08 pm

    Cheese-less pizza??!! Bleck!!!!!

  • Comment by Amanda — November 30, 2011 @ 8:16 pm

    Came in for lunch last week (Wednesday). We started with the ceasar salad which featured a big bowl of wilted brown/red romaine leaves that’d been left whole and had to be cut into smaller sizes. THe dressing was obviously not made in house and actually tasted a lot like the dressing they use at Panago (aka gross) and the crutons were HUGE. Not an easy to eat salad at all.

    I mad the marinara pasta for my main and again I was rather disappointed. The pasta was overcooked and mushy and the marinara sauce was way to watery/runny.

    Needless to say I will NEVER be returning. Thank god Trattoria is just down on 4th!

  • Comment by arianec — November 30, 2011 @ 8:43 pm

    @Amanda – Wow, really?? Sorry to hear that you had this experience. I am going to try their pasta next time I’m in to see what I get.

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